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  • Writer's pictureMade in the West Film Festival


The films are in and the finalists have been announced... now it's time for the judges to decide who will win this year's major prizes!

And who are these judges, you ask?

In 2016, our judging panel consists of four independent film and television producers, each with broad industry experience and a keen eye for a good product.

The panel is diverse and we like it that way.

Between them all, they've got to know something, right? We believe so.

First up we have Dr. Rachel Bentley, former CEO of Television Sydney, director of the Digital Production Unit at WSU and director of Cutback, a multi-platform web project and feature documentary about street art in Sydney. Rachel has been on our judging panel since 2013 and has always been a strong supporter of the festival - we are very pleased to welcome her back once again.

Next we have Michael Budd, who got his big break in acting when he was asked to play Lawrence Fishburne's body double in The Matrix 2 & 3. He went on to score a part in The Matrix Reloaded and has since starred in The Cold Light of Day and the award winning horror thriller, Love of my Life. Michael is now directing films at his own company Amazing People Pictures, based at Fox Studios, and we’re stoked to have him on our judging panel this year.

Our third judge is David Byrne who heads up the Sydney video production company The Rusty Cage. He has over a decade of experience producing film and television content, notably Channel 7's TravelBugTV and the recent 6-part documentary about the Blue Mountains Ultra-Trail marathon (which we think is ultra-cool). Originally from Western Sydney, David is keen to throw his support behind local filmmakers - and we're very happy to have him with us this year to judge the films.

And finally, Monica Davidson is the director of Creative Plus Business where she runs business workshops for film artists like us! She started her production company twoshotmedia in 1994 and 20 years later was named one of Westpac’s 100 Women of Influence for her work in the creative industries. She has since produced a feature-length documentary Handbag and was recently honoured with an Edna Award for her continued support of women in the Australian film industry. Basically, there isn’t anything Monica Davidson can’t do, and we're very pleased to have her on the panel.


Please join us in thanking our judges for very generously donating their time and expertise to Made in the West 2016. We look forward to finding out the names of our winners!


So, we reckon we've got a pretty awesome panel this year and we can't wait to hear what they think of the final films. We should get the scores back from the judges in the next few days, so keep your fingers crossed until then!

The independent and student films that rate highest overall in their category will be the winners of our two major trophies - the Best in the West Award for independent filmmakers, and the Best Student Film Award.

The judges' nominations also determine the individual category award winners for Best Director, Best Cinematographer, Best Editor, Best Sound Design and Best Actor & Actress.

Individual category nominations will be announced later this week, so stay tuned for the announcement!

All 17 short films will be shown at our marathon screening event :


Thursday 1st December

Paddo RSL in Paddington

SHOW STARTS at 6pm!!

We look forward to seeing you all there!

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